WT Enterprise Center is celebrating fifteen years of helping entrepreneurs in the Texas Panhandle build successful companies! Since it’s beginning in 2001, the WT Enterprise Center has experienced several stages of growth and construction to better serve entrepreneurs. Even though a lot has changed one thing has always remained the same, our mission to help entrepreneurs build great companies while fostering economic growth for the Texas Panhandle region. As we take a look back on the history and success of WT Enterprise Center, we acknowledge that we didn’t get where we are alone. The unique culture of collaboration and partnership in Amarillo is one of a kind. We would like to thank our partners who have supported us in our efforts to enhance the entrepreneur eco-system in our region.
The WT Enterprise Center began in 2001, with the combined efforts of Don Taylor, David Terry, former State Representative David Swinford, Dr. Russell Long, former President/CEO of West Texas A&M University, and Former AgrilLife Extension District Director, Dr. Bob Robinson. Funded in the 77th Legislative Session, Taylor and Terry’s expertise was sought to decrease out-migration of younger generations, lack of diversification, commodity dependency and job decline in rural Texas communities. Through the development of entrepreneurs at the Enterprise Center, the Texas Panhandle would gain new entrepreneurs who would create jobs and accelerate the overall economic condition of the region.
David Terry became Executive Director in 2007. One of his first actions was to hire professional staff to assist him in financial management and marketing, two areas that clients desperately needed, and also areas that a fledgling business incubator needed to grow. In 2008, the incubator filled to capacity and client engagement increased by adopting a coaching methodology for client interaction. Enterprise Center also adopted an advisory board of community leaders that continues to meet on a quarterly basis. In 2013, the Enterprise Center added entrepreneurs-in-residence and specialists to assist client companies. The Enterprise Center values providing our clients with top resources available through community partnerships.
Through the years, our facilities and programs have changed and grown. Our 31,000 square foot facility has gone through more than eight phases of construction, adding light industrial space, office space, a commercial kitchen, coworking space and increased collaborative space to effectively deliver business assistance to meet the needs in our region. Our programs have also evolved. Lunch & Learn, a monthly community entrepreneur education program, featuring local entrepreneurs and business leaders regularly attracts more than 60 people per month. We’ve added a pre-incubation program, Hatchworks, in 2013 that has now become a monthly deal flow creator. With a strong partnership with the Amarillo Economic Development Corporation we also host the Annual Amarillo EnterPrize Challenge, a $500,000 business plan competition funded entirely through grant money. The Enterprise Center has also incorporated pitch competitions, training sessions and more to meet the growing demand of our clients who evolve with the ever-changing entrepreneurial market.
Over the last year, the WT Enterprise Center received recognition for our work in helping to create a thriving entrepreneur eco-system in the Texas Panhandle. The Enterprise Center received two Economic Excellence Awards in 2015: An Excellence in Economic Development Gold Award for its partnership with the Amarillo Economic Development Corporation and its program “Incubation with Urgency” and a Bronze Award for its annual entrepreneurship program, the Amarillo EnterPrize Challenge. In 2016, we also received the Mixed-Use Incubator of the Year award from the International Business Innovation Association.
As entrepreneurship continues to gain traction on an international level, the WT Enterprise Center grows with increasing demand. Plans for the future include a new building south of our current facilities that will house a larger training room and enhanced collaboration space for area entrepreneurs to engage with peers and mentors. As always, change is necessary to grow and we look forward to continued changes at the Enterprise Center for many years to come!
Join The Celebration!
In commemoration of our 15 Year Anniversary, WT Enterprise Center invites you to our Summer Celebration including our $6,000 Pitch Competition. We are taking the party outdoors to enjoy a Panhandle sunset with food, drinks, a live band and the 2016 Pitch Competition, featuring some of the best elevator pitches in the region!
For the past 15 years, WT Enterprise Center has supported start-up and early-stage entrepreneurs as a model of excellence, inspiring innovation and growth among entrepreneurs in the Panhandle region.